Ibaka, DeRozan lead Raptors past Mavericks, 94-86 (Mar 25, 2017)

DALLAS (AP) DeMar DeRozan and Serge Ibaka scored 18 points apiece and the Toronto Raptors won their fifth straight game, 94-86 over the Dallas Mavericks on Saturday night.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.foxsports.com/nba/story/ibaka-derozan-lead-raptors-past-mavericks-94-86-032517

Rudy Gobert after big loss to Clippers: 'Some of us just think about scoring'

Rudy Gobert’s Jazz are now just a half-game ahead of the Clippers in the West. (AP)

The Utah Jazz have been one of the great successes of the 2016-17 season. Tabbed as a very likely playoff team heading into the season, the Jazz have met the upper bounds of those expectations and entered Saturday’s game at the Los Angeles Clippers in fourth place in the West, or 1 1/2 games up on their opponents for homecourt advantage in the first round of the playoffs. Despite their relative inexperience, the Jazz’s mix of elite defense and steady perimeter play should make them a handful in the postseason.

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So it’s a little surprising to see their soon-to-be All-NBA center Rudy Gobert call out some of his teammates in the wake of Saturday’s 108-95 loss, which narrowed Utah’s lead over L.A. to just a half-game (one in the loss column). According to Gobert, the problem was that too many members of the Jazz shirked their non-scoring responsibilities. From Tim MacMahon of ESPN.com:

“We’ve got guys that compete, but some of us don’t compete. Some of us just think about scoring,” Gobert told ESPN after Utah’s fourth loss in its past five games. “That’s what it is.

“Coach keeps repeating it: We’ve just got to compete. We’re too nice. Those guys, we know they’re going to get calls. We’ve just got to come out aggressive and ready to fight.”

Gobert was especially disappointed that the 44-29 Jazz came out flat — trailing by 14 points after the first quarter — in a game that could ultimately decide which of these two squads will enjoy home-court advantage if they meet in the playoffs. The 44-30 Clippers closed to within a half-game of the Jazz in the fight for the Western Conference’s fourth seed. […]

“I think everybody needs to think about making plays for the team, making winning plays, before thinking about how many points we’re going to score and stuff like that,” Gobert said. “Everybody has to be ready to sacrifice. In the playoffs, it’s not going to be pretty. There’s going to be some games where you don’t score. But are you going to take a charge for a teammate? Are you going to come and box out DeAndre [Jordan] for a teammate?

“It works with all of us. And we do it, we do it, but we do it by stretches. We need to do it right from the beginning of the game. I think when we do that, we’re very, very, very good.”

Gobert’s statement that certain players only think about scoring stands out, especially given the course of Saturday’s game. The Jazz trailed 28-14 after the first quarter but closed the third on a 20-6 run to make the final period something like a toss-up. Unfortunately for them, Clippers guard Jamal Crawford took over and scored 17 of his game-high 28 points to seal the result and a 3-1 season series win, which could prove important if the teams finish tied in the standings.

According to MacMahon, Gobert’s comments were mostly about Utah’s slow start, which in a big hole pretty much immediately during a tough road game. Head coach Quin Snyder echoed those concerns, albeit with more measured language:

“It’s not that we’re not playing hard. We don’t necessarily play hard together when we need to. I think that type of collective effort, when you get in big games against good teams and physical teams, that’s what you need.”

Those issues would obviously come up in a playoff series, and the overriding concern of both Gobert and Snyder appears to be that the Jazz don’t the right attitude or commitment to a team identity to thrive in that atmosphere. It’s a fair concern, especially for a young team. On the other hand, it could just be a way to remind everyone of what’s about to be at stake. Expertise isn’t necessarily a part of the equation — Gobert has never seen a minute of playoff action.

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One player who has, point guard George Hill, isn’t so concerned with the impact of Saturday’s result. Here’s what he had to stay about Utah’s dwindling lead for the No. 4 seed:

How much does homecourt advantage in first round mean to Jazz? “It don’t matter,” said George Hill, who was minus-29 in loss to Clippers.

— Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) March 26, 2017

Well, I’m glad that’s settled.

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Eric Freeman is a writer for Ball Don’t Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at efreeman_ysports@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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Permanent link to this article: https://sports.yahoo.com/news/rudy-gobert-after-big-loss-to-clippers-some-of-us-just-think-about-scoring-030231370.html

Spring Training 2017: Yadier Molina gives Cardinals contract ultimatum

Yadier Molina is waiting for a thumbs up from the Cardinals in contract extension talks. (AP)
Yadier Molina is waiting for a thumbs up from the Cardinals in contract extension talks. (AP)

Welcome to The Stew’s Spring Headlines, our daily look at the biggest MLB stories and news items from around spring training. Here you’ll find a quick recap of all the day’s action and other fun stuff from around the internet that we think is worth your time.

DEADLINE: Talks concerning a potential contract extension for Yadier Molina were pushed into the background at Cardinals camp while he was away at the World Baseball Classic. Now they’re front and center again after the eight-time Gold Glove award winner gave the team a pretty clear ultimatum.

According to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Molina told the media on Saturday that he does not want contract negotiations to spill into the regular season. That gives the Cardinals roughly one week to reach an agreement. The Cardinals open up their season on Sunday, April 2, when they host the defending World Series champion Chicago Cubs.

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But wait, there’s more to this story.

Molina added another level of intrigue and perhaps anxiety for Cardinals fans by mentioning he’s “not afraid” to test free agency should it come to that.

“I would love to. I would love to stay, but at the same time I’m not afraid to go to free agency. I’ve still got many years in the tank. Believe me. I feel great. I feel like a 20-year-old kid. I’m not afraid to go to free agency.”

“Hopefully,” Molina said. “Hopefully we can get it done before the opening starts. After the opening, I don’t know what’s going to happen. We’ve got one more week to talk about it. And then after that I’m going to concentrate on my game. Whatever they want to do. Like I’ve said: I want to stay here. But if they don’t want to spend money I understand that, too. This is a business. I’m going to try and concentrate on myself.”

Most of the time these comments are all about jockeying for position in negotiations. Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak knows the drill, which is he why he preached patience when discussing an extension for Molina previously. Still, for the sake of a healthy relationship between player and team, and for the sake of anxious fans, perhaps there will be some urgency shown this week.  Stay tuned to this one, folks. [St. Louis Post-Dispatch]

TIMELINE: The Red Sox have yet to lay out a firm timeline for David Price’s return, but recent developments suggest he’ll miss the entire month of April. [ESPN]

LOCKED IN: The Rangers have reportedly agreed to a six-year, $49.5M contract extension with second baseman Rougned Odor. [The Stew]

ON HOLD: In other Rangers extension news, talks with veteran catcher Jonathan Lucroy have been tabled for the time being. It isn’t known whether the two sides will re-open talks prior to opening day or during the regular season. [@JeffWilson_FWTS]

SECOND OPINION: White Sox left-hander Carlos Rodon received encouraging news on Saturday when an MRI on his sore left biceps came back clean. Just to be sure though, he’ll have a second opinion on Monday before getting into preparation for the regular season. [Chicago Sun Times]

MLB PREVIEW: Can the Giants get back in the championship picture? [The Stew]

More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports:

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Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at bigleaguestew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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Permanent link to this article: https://sports.yahoo.com/news/spring-training-2017-yadier-molina-gives-cardinals-contract-ultimatum-025443914.html

Leonard, Aldridge help Spurs topple Knicks, 106-98 (Mar 25, 2017)

SAN ANTONIO (AP) Kawhi Leonard scored 29 points, LaMarcus Aldridge added 19 points and 10 rebounds, and the San Antonio Spurs beat the New York Knicks 106-98 on Saturday night.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.foxsports.com/nba/story/leonard-aldridge-help-spurs-topple-knicks-106-98-032517

Oregon stuns Kansas to reach first Final Four in 78 years

Tyler Dorsey (middle) and Jordan Bell (right) were the protagonists in Oregon’s upset of Kansas. (Getty)

KANSAS CITY — Amid thousands of blank stares, there was one villainous smile. That smile, and a few similar ones, told of a stunning result Saturday night that is both historic and calamitous, memorable and forgettable, euphoric and devastating.

The smile came from Oregon’s Dillon Brooks as he strutted back down the Sprint Center floor. Then he looked up to the crowd and saw those stares. As he did, he might as well have been back-pedaling to Phoenix.

A year after falling short at this very stage, Brooks and Tyler Dorsey led No. 3 seed Oregon to a shocking upset of top-seeded Kansas, 74-60 in a de facto road game. They also led Oregon to its first Final Four since 1939.

As the Ducks celebrated, the Jayhawks and their thunderously loud fans were left to ponder yet another tournament failure, one that local reporters have dubbed a disaster if it were to happen, one that nobody saw coming after Kansas romped to the Elite Eight with an average margin of victory of 30.

But it was clear from the opening minutes that a fourth win wouldn’t be as easy. Oregon played stoically and passionately, but under control. As it continued to do so, noise turned to silence. Excitement turned to exasperation. Kansas’ seemingly assured place in the Final Four turned into a dream dashed. What began as a raucous crowd at Allen Fieldhouse East turned to a nervous crowd, and then a frantically concerned one, and finally a dejected one.

Every single Kansas basket brought thousands of blue- and red-clad Jayhawks fans to their feet, but over the course of 40 minutes, they did a lot of sinking back into their seats, too. Tyler Dorsey, Dylan Ennis and Dillon Brooks all hit early 3s, and reveled in the silencing of the crowd.

Multiple Ducks players said Friday that they enjoy playing — or, more specifically, winning — on the road more than they do at home, and their mentalities throughout the first half exemplified that. Whereas Kansas played tight, as they admittedly had in previous first halves in the tournament, Oregon played freely, unfazed and uninhibited by the at times rapturous noise.

The first big moment of the game came less than three minutes in. Moments after picking up an early foul, Josh Jackson was tagged with a controversial second for a hand check. He stalked to the bench, ripping his jersey out of his shorts as he did. He would sit for nearly nine minutes, and was ineffective when he returned

Oregon led 36-28 at the three-minute mark of the first half, and in fact, if it weren’t for Frank Mason, the lead would have been larger. Mason had 14, half of his team’s points, and got many of them after beating his man off the dribble. He got 15, 16 and 17 on a 3-pointer with 2:22 remaining to cut the lead to five. He scored 15 straight points for Kansas to keep them in the game.

No other Jayhawk could get going, though. Oregon’s 1-2-2 halfcourt trap, which fell back into both a matchup zone and a man-to-man, slowed Kansas’ offense. Neither Jackson nor Devonte’ Graham scored a single point.

Oregon’s Jordan Bell was a menace within a 10-foot radius of the rim all game. He erased four Jayhawks shots at the rim, and grabbed eight boards. His horizontal and vertical athleticism was spectacular.

It was Dorsey, though, who had the single biggest minute of the half. And it was the final minute. With Oregon’s lead at five, the Ducks decided to go two-for-one. Dorsey pulled up for a 2, and his shot rattled off rim, off glass, and in. After a Kansas turnover on the other end, he had ample time to rise up again, and this time his shot went straight off the glass and in. Oregon raced off the court in glee, and with a 44-33 lead.

After the break, it was Brooks’ turn to get going. he elevated for two 3s, and strutted back down the court, smiling, relishing his role as public enemy No. 1. Bell also rejected two early shots to keep Kansas’ offense quiet, and Oregon extended its lead to 16.

Kansas tried to speed its way back into the game by amplifying its already breakneck pace, but Oregon, unlike Purdue on Thursday, was similarly comfortable with the pace. The Ducks dove to the floor for loose balls and ran their own fast breaks. They turned Kansas’ on-ball pressure against it by staying calm and passing out of traps to score.

Kansas appeared to feel the mounting pressure as Oregon’s double-digit lead held deeper and deeper into the half. Graham air-balled a six-footer. Kansas’ urgency didn’t yield more fluid play; it yielded the opposite.

 

As the second half wore on, Oregon’s energy, and as a result its performance, started to wane. Its offense became stagnant. Kansas’ defense went into desperation mode, and Oregon’s offense shut off.

With the lead cut to 10, Dorsey hit one massive three, his fifth of the game, and brought a finger to his lips as he jogged back down the court.

But Kansas kept coming. The Jayhawks got to within nine, and Svi Mykhailiuk hit a cold-blooded 3 from the left corner to cut the lead to six with 2:49 remaining. “Let’s go Jayhawks!” chants filled the arena.

On the very next possession, Oregon again got no movement and no penetration, but Dorsey flicked a shot at the rim as the shot clock expired. The rebound bounced into the arms of an Oregon player, and seconds later, Dorsey crossed over, rose, and drilled a 3. On Oregon’s next possession, Bell got not one but two offensive rebounds, and his goaltended layup pushed the lead back to 11.

Oregon held on for the victory, and will advance to the Final Four to play the winner of Sunday’s showdown between North Carolina and Kentucky.

Permanent link to this article: http://sports.yahoo.com/news/oregon-stuns-kansas-to-reach-first-final-four-in-78-years-024820188.html

Rahm, Johnson roll on as WGC-Match Play final four set

Dustin Johnson is cruising in Austin. (Getty Images)

The final four of the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play was set on Saturday afternoon, with a pair of dominating performances by two of golf’s hottest players, an unlikely steady performer advancing over a legend and a potential breakout start putting his way to the semifinals.

Dustin Johnson and Jon Rahm easily moved on to the Sunday morning semifinals, continuing their unbeaten streak to five matches.

Rahm dispatched of Soren Kjeldsen by a 7-and-5 count, marking a second dominating performance on the day, following a 6-and-4 drubbing of Charles Howell III in the morning Round of 16 session. The Spaniard, who can get into the world top 10 in just 21 professional starts by capturing the win on Sunday, played just 27 of a possible 36 holes in the two combined matches — three fewer than Johnson, who has dominated opponents all week.

The world No. 1 Johnson defeated Alex Noren in the quarterfinal round by a 3-and-2 margin, a seemingly comfortable win devoid of drama. And, for the first nine holes, it was a carbon copy of Johnson’s prior four matches through the week. Johnson won the first hole, as he has in all five of his matches this week, and he took a 3-up lead into the back nine. The Swede Noren, however, won three consecutive holes to start the final half of the match and pulled even, marking the first time all week that Johnson was not ahead in a match. From there, Johnson won three of the final four holes to set up a spot in the semifinals.

If Rahm and Johnson are to meet and deliver the kind of fitting final this championship deserves, they’ll each have to get past opponents that they underestimate at their own peril.

Going into the week, few people gave Hideto Tanihara a chance to even get out of the group he shared with Jordan Spieth, who went to the University of Texas near host Austin Country Club. However, Tanihara did that and then managed to use his impressive putting ability to beat a pair of Englishmen — first in Paul Casey, second in Ross Fisher. With the win over Fisher, Tanihara assured himself a spot in the Official World Golf Ranking top 50 after Sunday, which comes with a spot in the Masters. While Fisher had to be upset for his week to end, he also landed a spot in the Masters via the top 50 when he beat Bubba Watson in the Round of 16.

Tanihara’s reward for getting this far? Dustin Johnson on Sunday morning.

Then there’s Rahm’s opponent, Bill Haas, who advanced to the semifinal by beating Phil Mickelson by a 2-and-1 count. Haas jumped out to a 3-up edge through six holes, but Mickelson, who hadn’t seen the final three holes of the course all week until Saturday afternoon, battled back. Mickelson cut the margin to one hole but was unable for two consecutive holes to pull all square. In his first time there all week, Mickelson halved 16 with Haas and lost the 17th to end the match and his deepest run in the WGC-Match Play since 2004.

In the third year of the group-play twist to the WGC-Match Play, Johnson and Rahm could continue the trend of champions going 7-0-0 through the week.


Ryan Ballengee is a Yahoo Sports contributor. Find him on Facebook and Twitter.

Permanent link to this article: http://sports.yahoo.com/news/rahm-johnson-roll-on-as-wgc-match-play-final-four-set-023357085.html

Hansen’s late goal lifts Crew over Timbers 3-2 (The Associated Press)

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Niko Hansen scored in his MLS debut, Ola Kamara got a goal in his third consecutive game and the Columbus Crew beat the Portland Timbers 3-2 on Saturday night.

Permanent link to this article: http://us.rd.yahoo.com/sports/rss/mls/SIG=12t9frr3i/*http%3A//sports.yahoo.com/news/hansens-goal-lifts-crew-over-timbers-3-2-023212166--mls.html

Marchessault’s hat trick leads Panthers past Blackhawks 7-0 (Yahoo Sports)

Jonathan Marchessault scored his first career hat trick, James Reimer stopped 25 shots for his first shutout of the season and the Florida Panthers routed the Chicago Blackhawks 7-0 on Saturday night. Jonathan Huberdeau had a goal and three assists, a…

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Markov scores twice, sets up Weber as Canadiens top Sens 3-1 (Yahoo Sports)

Andrei Markov scored two goals and set up another and the Montreal Canadiens beat the Ottawa Senators 3-1 on Saturday night to retain first place in the Atlantic Division. Shea Weber also scored for Montreal, which leads Ottawa by three points, althou…

Permanent link to this article: http://us.rd.yahoo.com/sports/rss/nhl/SIG=136flfntr/*http%3A//sports.yahoo.com/news/markov-scores-twice-sets-weber-canadiens-top-sens-021727367--nhl.html

Wall scores 37 as Wizards down LeBron, Cavs 127-115 (Mar 25, 2017)

CLEVELAND (AP) John Wall scored 37 points, Bradley Beal added 27 and the Washington Wizards began a challenging road trip by beating LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers 127-115 on Saturday night.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.foxsports.com/nba/story/wall-scores-37-as-wizards-down-lebron-cavs-127-115-032517

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